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19 Mar 2018 11:51
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  •   Home > News > Sports > Rugby

    Bye week no impediment for Landers form

    Despite coming off a bye week just a fortnight into Super Rugby, the Highlanders expect to be as battle-hardened as ever on Friday against the Stormers.

    Highlanders coach Aaron Mauger is adamant his side is well prepared for Friday's Super Rugby encounter with the Stormers, despite coming off a bye week after just one competition game.

    The Cape Town-based Stormers travel to Dunedin after back-to-back losses on the road to the Waratahs and Crusaders.

    But a first round win against the Jaguares sees them second in the South African Conference, and sixth in the overall standings.

    In contrast, the Highlanders are looking to make it two from two after their opening 41-34 win against the Blues and last week's bye.

    Mauger said it was "not ideal in terms of building momentum through the year, but we used that as a positive."

    He said they've been training with intensity and replicating match conditions, including dishing out yellow cards for infringements.

    "What we're trying to do out on the training field is replicate the scenarios we're going to be in in the game," Mauger said.

    "Sometimes those things happen, not through intention but sometimes through accident, and we've got to be able to deal with those things.

    "We prepare to be with 13 men on the field or 14 with three minutes to go, five minutes to go, whatever it is.

    "So we're constantly throwing scenarios at the guys."

    Two players who will be tested are debutants Tevita Nabura on the left wing and Tasman loose forward Shannon Frizell, who starts on the bench.

    Mauger said both players had impressed in pre-season.

    "We know if we want to go deep into the season we're going to have to use our squad. It's part of our philosophy around getting people involved and this week's a great opportunity," Mauger said.

    Co-captain Ash Dixon will miss the game after a back injury flared up during a mid-week weights session, while the versatile Richard Buckman is likely to remain on the sidelines until next month with a neck issue.


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